Posted by: Chris Avery | January 1, 2009

Christless Christianity

I copied this from the Reformata web site. I hope they don’t mind.

Excerpts from Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity:

“Where everything is measured by our happiness rather than by God’s holiness, the sense of our being sinners becomes secondary, if not offensive. If we are good people who have lost our way but with the proper instructions and motivation can become a better person, we need only a life coach, not a redeemer. We can still give our assent to a high view of Christ and the centrality of his person and work, but in actual practice we are being distracted from “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). A lot of the things that distract us from Christ these days are even good things. In order to push us offpoint, all that Satan has to do is throw several spiritual fads, moral and political crusades, and other “relevance” operations into our field of vision. Focusing the conversation on us—our desires, needs, feelings, experience, activity, and aspirations— energizes us. At last, now we’re talking about something practical and relevant.” (pg 15-16)

“…I am not arguing in this book that we have arrived at Christless Christianity but that we are well on our way. There need not be explicit abandonment of any key Christian teaching, just a series of subtle distortions and not-so-subtle distractions. Even good things can cause us to look away from Christ and to take the gospel for granted as something we needed for conversion but which now can be safely assumed and put in the background. Center stage, however, is someone or something else…So much of what I am calling “Christless Christianity” is not profound enough to constitute heresy. Like the easy-listening Muzak that plays ubiquitously in the background in other shopping venues, the message of American Christianity has simply become trivial, sentimental, affirming, and irrelevant.” (pg 20)

“If the message the church proclaims makes sense without conversion, if it does not offend even lifelong believers from time to time so that they too need to die more to themselves and live more to Christ, then it is not the gospel. When Christ is talked about, a lot of things can happen, none of which necessarily have any lasting impact. When Christ is proclaimed in his saving office, the church becomes a theater of death and resurrection.” (pg 141)

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